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From Latin vulnerārius, from vulnus (wound).



vulnerary (comparative more vulnerary, superlative most vulnerary)

  1. Useful or used for healing wounds; healing, curative.
    • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Chapter 28,[1]
      Rebecca examined the wound, and having applied to it such vulnerary remedies as her art prescribed, informed her father that [...] there was nothing to fear for his guest’s life.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 422 (footnote):
      Take, for example, the famous vulnerary ointment attributed to Paracelsus.
  2. (archaic, rare) Causing wounds, wounding.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Restricted in modern use primarily to works on ethnobotany and traditional medicine.



vulnerary (plural vulneraries)

  1. A healing drug or other agent used in healing and treating wounds.
    • 1757, John Rutty, A Methodical Synopsis of Mineral Waters, Comprehending the Most Celebrated Medicinal Waters, both Cold and Hot, of Great-Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy, and several other Parts of the World, London: Printed for William Johnston, at the Golden Ball in St. Paul's Church-Yard, OCLC 745173148, page 494:
      On the ſurface of the water there floats a liquid bitumen, although it be every day ſcummed off, as it doth on the lake Aſphaltites in Judæa: The Inhabitants uſe it as pitch: it is alſo found to be an excellent vulnerary, and good in curing old cacoethic and ſcrophulous ulcers.


See also[edit]